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Transportation Chairs Unsure Road Bond Has Support in Legislature

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On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice announces a downgrade of the state's bond rating nearly two weeks after he presented lawmakers with a proposal to increase taxes and fees for a road bond. 

Sen. Greg Boso and Del. Marty Gearheart, chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, react to the downgrade and the governor's bond proposal. 

Bosos says he'll wait to see the actual legislation the governor is proposing before asking his committee if they'll consider the bills. Gearheart says his members on not interested in the proposed 10 cent increase on the gasoline tax, $1 on the tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike, and increasing some DMV fees the governor mentioned during his State of the State Address.

Bills are expected by the end of the week in the House, and potentially in the Senate, that would create incentives for private business to expand access to broadband internet in unserved and underserved areas of the state. Lawmakers discuss the potential pieces of legislation that advocacy groups are already saying they'll back.

Even though lawmakers say the lack of access to broadband is inhibiting the growth of business in the state, West Virginia voters don't necessarily agree. Curtis Wilkerson with Orion Strategies discusses a poll conduct by his firm of West Virginia voters and how they feel about their internet service. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo0K47gIiXc&feature=youtu.be

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.